The corner of the office was on fire.
I blinked, turning to look at the flames as they climbed up over the vaguely orange-pink wallpaper, twisting and letting out little screams as they singed the leaves of the fake potted plant that failed to cover up the water stains behind it. I considered looking around for a fire extinguisher, but I just knew that it would be way expired, and wouldn’t make this situation any better. Might as well just let the fire burn itself out.
It did, a few seconds later – but as it retreated, it left a hulking, red-skinned form standing in the corner, horns scraping against the ceiling and glinting yellow eyes leering down at me. The humanoid figure stepped forward, its hooves leaving smoking, burned impressions in the dirty carpet.
“Peter Welch,” the figure snarled, lifting one hand to reach out towards me – but then paused, shifting its glare from me over to its own arm. “Hold on, what is this?” Continue reading
“I’m sorry,” I said, for what had to be the tenth time since the interview started. “What am I here to do, again? Exactly?”
The manager of the IKEA, a pugnacious and pot-bellied little man settling unpleasantly into middle age, turned his head to glare back at me. “Get rid of the pests!” he repeated, clarifying absolutely nothing. The fluorescent lights glinted off his bald egg of a head, piercing through the meager hairs that attempted to cover the expanse of sweaty scalp. “You have pest experience, yes?” Continue reading
I groaned at the man standing on my doorstep. “Come on, it’s not even eight in the morning,” I sighed, reaching up to rub at my sleep-addled eyes. “Can’t you give me a couple hours to drink my coffee, at least?”
He, of course, didn’t bother with any small talk. I guess the niceties fade after a few eons in Hell. How long is an eon, anyway? “You need to take it back. The deal is off.”
Instead of answering, I brushed past him, heading to my beat-up little car, parked down at the far end of the lot. I vaguely considered aiming a half-hearted kick at the Hummer parked crooked across two spots, but decided against it. The thumping echoing through the thin walls of my apartment last night told me that Kelsey, downstairs, had found a new boyfriend. His choice of vehicle told me that this one wasn’t likely to be any more permanent than the others that cycled through. Continue reading